Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Arethusa bulbosa L.
ORCHIDACEAE (Orchid Family)
EtymologyArethusa, in Greek mythology, was a beautiful nymph and chaste follower of Artemis. When Arethusa was pursued by the river god, Alpheus, Artemis turned her into a spring that flowed beneath the Ionian Sea, emerging on the island of Ortygia in Sicily. Alpheus followed her and their waters are said to mingle to this day; bulbosa means bulbous, from the Greek.
Synonyms (Common Name)Arethusa, Swamp Pink
DescriptionDragon's mouth is a small bog orchid that has become quite rare in southern New England. Preferring open Sphagnum peatlands, dragon's mouth arises from a bulb-like base and grows 5-12" high. A single magenta flower with a slightly bearded lip blooms on a leafless stalk.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
Plant Height5-12 inches
LeavesSolitary basal leaf, simple, entire, slender, 4-6" (8") long; develops after flowering period.
Flower/InflorescenceRose to magenta, 1 1/2 - 2" long, solitary on tip of stalk; sepals and lateral petals lanceolate, erect and joined at base; lip light pink with purple markings, center bearded with yellow to white hairs.
Flowering PeriodMay-June
FruitCapsule, somewhat oval, strongly ridged, with 3 partitions.
HabitatBogs, open peaty fens and wet meadows.
RangeNewfoundland to Minnesota; south to New Jersey and Indiana; mountains of North and South Carolina.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett